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Electronic Health Records (EHRs)

An electronic health record (EHR) is a digital version of a patient’s medical chart that is maintained by the provider over time and may include all of the key administrative clinical data relevant to that person’s care under a particular provider.  Many EHRs are also designed to provide information to the patient and to share information with other health care providers.

Integrating evidence based medicine into the EHR allows health professionals to better manage patient care through electronic health record (EHR) systems.  Widespread adoption of this technology has created a new role for librarians supporting clinical care to educate, monitor and disseminate new developments and advancements on the implementation and use of the electronic health record.
The NN/LM MCR will provide resources for its members to raise awareness and knowledge of how electronic health records relate to clinical care and patient decision-making and encourage librarians to be involved with incorporating health information resources, such as MedlinePlus Connect, into the electronic health record. 

Topics on this page:

Overview of EHRs

EHR Basics

Benefits of EHRs

EHR, EMR, PHR - definitions and distinctions between health IT terminology

A Brief History of EHRs - national events and federal acts impacting the EHR since its launch in 2004.

Meaningful Use

The goal of meaningful use is to promote the spread of electronic health records to improve health care in the United States. Meaningful use is the set of standards defined by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Incentive Programs that governs the use of electronic health records and allows eligible providers and hospitals to earn incentive payments by meeting specific criteria.

What is Meaningful Use?

Key Information on Meaningful Use and Clinical Quality Measures

EHR Incentive Programs
The Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs provide incentive payments to eligible professionals, eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals (CAHs) as they adopt, implement, upgrade or demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology.

Certified Health IT Product List
EHR technology must be certified under the ONC HIT Certification Program to be eligible to be used for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) Incentive Programs.

Librarians and EHRs

Health librarians' expertise in organizing and retrieving information makes them ideally suited for providing evidence-based medicine or consumer health information embedded directly in EHRs.

Curtis, J. (2010). Introduction: The Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries Symposium: "Electronic Health Records and Knowledge-based Information: State-of-the-art and Roles for Libraries in Health Information Technology". Journal of the Medical Library Association, 98:3, 204-205. [PMC Free Article]

Welton, N. (2010). The University of Washington Electronic Medical Record Experience. Journal of the Medical Library Association, 98:3, 217-219. [PMC Free Article]

Albert, K. (2008). Integrating Knowledge-Based Resources into the Electronic Health Record. Medical Reference Services Quarterly, 26:3, 1-19.

Fuller, S. (1999). Integrating Knowledge Resources at the Point of Care: Opportunities for Librarians. Bulletin of the Medical Library Association, 87:4, 393-403. [PMC Free Article]

Resources

HealthIt.gov - The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC)
The ONC site is designed as a "resource for the entire health system to support the adoption of health information technology and the promotion of nationwide health information exchange to improve health care." It covers all aspects of HIT and EHRs.

HRSA - Health Information Technology and Quality Improvement
HRSA is the primary funder for implementing EHRs in federally qualified health centers. This source contains current health IT news, EHR selection and implementation guidelines, meaningful use, webinars, and toolboxes for healthcare providers and educators.

HealthIT Buzz - The Latest on Health Information Technology from the ONC

Government HealthIT
A newsletter produced by HIMSS (described below) that highlights how government is driving the adoption of information technology in healthcare.

MedlinePlus Connect
MedlinePlus Connect is a free service of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and allows health organizations and health IT providers to link patient portals and EHR systems to MedlinePlus.

NLM Tools for EHR Certification and Meaningful Use

Professional Associations

AHIMA
The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) manages certification for Health Informatics and Information Management professionals.

HiMSS
Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society